DIY on a Dime: Hand Painted Tile Trivets

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Help your kids create a special and useful keepsake for a loved one! Learn how to make easy hand-painted tile trivets in this tutorial from Life as MOM Contributor Janel.

Tiles on table with text overlay.

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All Photos: Janel Piersma

Years ago, we remodeled our kitchen. During that process, we picked up a few sample 6-inch tiles to see if we wanted a ceramic backsplash. Well, we never ended up installing a tile backsplash, but I DID keep those tiles. For years, I’ve used them as trivets to protect our table from hot serving dishes. Cheap and easy.

This week, we transformed these same tiles into trivets that are just a bit fancier. I let the girls decorate them for the holidays with paint, and I added some cork tile to the bottom for greater heat and scratch protection. I bought a pack of cork tiles at my local Joann for just $2 with a coupon (regularly $4). The cork tiles included adhesive so it made the project that much simpler.

A pack of cork tiles on a table.

You and your kids can make them too! They’re easy! These decorated tiles can be used as trivets OR as artwork if you place them in a decorative plate holder.

How to Make Hand-Painted Tile Trivets


  • 6-inch tile from the home improvement store
  • acrylic paint and paintbrushes
  • clear spraypaint
  • 6-inch cork tiles or felt
  • adhesive


  1. Prepare your painting area. You can follow these tips for stress-free painting with kids to help protect your furnishings and clothing.
  2. Allow your children to paint the front of the tiles however they wish with acrylic paint. If they make a mistake, you may be able to “erase” it with a wet towel or Q-tip if you work quickly. If your child wants to layer colors — like adding “ornaments” to a painted tree — allow the first layer to dry before you apply the second. A hair dryer can help speed up the drying process.
  3. Let the acrylic paint dry completely. If the paint is thick in areas, you may need a longer drying time.
  4. To protect your child’s artwork, apply a few coats of clear spraypaint over the top of the tile. Allow to dry between coats. Dry completely.
  5. Turn your tile into a trivet by adding a protective surface to the bottom of the tile. You can hot glue a layer of felt on the bottom. Or for greater heat and scratch protection, affix a cork tile to the bottom.

Tiles on table with text overlay.

A girl in a pink shirt looking at the camera.Janel is a stay-at-home mom of two daughters and a “law school wife” in Virginia. Raised in a budget-conscious and DIY-minded family, she blogs about motherhood, crafts, and living on a law school budget at Life with Lucie and Ella.

DIY on a Dime graphic, with text overlay reading Great Gifts.

DIY on a Dime

This is part of the DIY on a Dime: Great Gifts series. For more easy and frugal gift ideas, check out the list.

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  1. I love the trivet idea as parent gifts for my students…. however, I’m worried that if a hot pan is placed on it once it’s been clear spraypainted, the paint would melt some and stick to the bottom of the pan. Does this happen or has it been ok?

    1. Personally, I haven’t had a problem with the paint melting or coming off on my trivets. It might “stick” a little bit if the dish is really hot and sits for awhile (it did that today with my tea kettle), but none of the paint came off. In fact, it seemed more like residue from the bottom of the kettle came off onto the trivet. I just scrubbed it off with a sponge and it was as good as new.

      That said, your results might vary depending on various factors — thickness of paint, drying time, # coats of spraypaint, and curing time before using it as a trivet. I just used regular clear spraypaint, but maybe the results would be different with a clear spraypaint that is designed for high-heat.

  2. Such a fun idea! Thinking about doing this for grandparents this year. Does the clear spray paint protect the art over time and usage?

    1. Yes, the clear spraypaint protects the trivet and helps prevent the artwork from chipping off. You’ll want to make sure that you allow the art to dry really well before you coat it. Sometimes kids have a tendency to put the paint on really thick. If you plan on it being used as a decorative piece, you can include a plate stand too.